By Dina Al-Kassim
On soreness of Speech tracks the literary rant, an expression of provocation and resistance that imagines the facility to talk in its personal identify the place no such correct is granted. targeting the "politics of address," Dina Al-Kassim perspectives the rant during the lens of Michel Foucault's idea of the biopolitical topic and reveals that its abject handle is a necessary but neglected characteristic of modernism. Deftly forthcoming disparate fields--decadent modernism, queer stories, subjection, severe psychoanalysis, and postcolonial avant-garde--and encompassing either Euro-American and Francophone Arabic modernisms, she bargains an formidable theoretical standpoint at the ongoing redefinition of modernism. She comprises readings of Jane Bowles, Abdelwahab Meddeb, and Oscar Wilde, and invokes a variety of principles, together with these of Theodor Adorno, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler, Jean Laplanche, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.
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Additional info for On Pain of Speech: Fantasies of the First Order and the Literary Rant (Flashpoints)
25 Parrhesia is an experience of speech that establishes truth through conviction and risk, but the “figure of no figure,” which claims a natural and unembellished character, bears new burdens in the modern period. R. James, as we shall see below, is a good example of this insofar as the parrhesia he risks is caught up in the apologia he compulsively performs. Ranting, a speech under duress, loses the subject in the stream of words that overwhelm his speaking. But the appeal, abject though it is, is directed both at the law that condemns, the self who defends, and the audience who may receive it.
In Bowles the themes of failure and inadequacy embrace the terms of derogation and put true criticism in the mouth of those least authorized to speak. In the course of these chapters, our gaze remains fixed on the link between a mobilization of the trope of the primitive, variously expressed as degenerate, decadent, or regressed, and a literary symptom, the rant, that emerges as a riposte to the modern technologies of discursive sexuality that run through the speaking subject and determine his position of enunciation; sexualization and racialization are twin processes that collude to produce in the speaking body the conditions of intelligibility and recognition by means of which power ensures its own survival.
The queer modernism of decadence and the postcolonial avant-garde have in common their avant-garde investment in the project of self-invention and an unstinting critical posture toward normativity of all kinds; this double commitment sets apart a lineage of decadent modernism from the literary realism that dominates much national literature, postcolonial writing, and gay and lesbian literature avowed to a confessional style. With this in mind, marginality should be understood not on the model of excluded identity, ready-made but ignored, nor on the model of alternative modernisms, if that means simply expanding the map of modernism geographically; rather, here we are concerned with subjects in process, determined by the laws they rebuke but constructing them nonetheless: a gay Irishman in Reading Goal, a Jewish sexual tourist in Morocco, a Caribbean socialist on Ellis Island, a juvenile vagrant moving between national borders and allying himself with the enemies of the state, a Muslim patient called up to secure a system, Lewis the enemy who enters the center only to throw himself out, and an avantgarde Tunisian writer who resists postcolonial nationalism and its determination of marginals.